I walk under these trees and now I know
my hope: it is that they will stand like this
in silent massiveness and flight forever,
that I will die and their simplicity
in light and dark, the shifting shades among them,
the complex weave of limbs, landings of groins,
rivers and wounds of bark, the silent quake
and steady shout of leaves in sun or wind …
that I will die and they will all go on.
My hope is seeing myself dead and them
standing and someone under them begins
to recognize as hope that they stay here.
Then what, love, do I want for you, who are
my world more deeply even than the trees
making themselves of water, air and light?
That you should stand when I shall have gone on?
And someone else would find you, find the world,
my world, and live in it. The sadness, then,
of empty spaces, like those under trees
when someone enters there and seems to catch
a blank desertion, something vanishing,
scared from its home by his feared, hated step,
would be intelligible, a fact of nature:
not a mind's mood, but lives that once were here,
busy, yet left and left a vacant mood.
New loves would come and you live day by day
and against this no sternest memory
or will could keep your vow to the lost. Forget me.
You will. I bequeath you eternity.
How can I help but will you eternity
when knowing for myself only my death?
And so you are the eternal checkered shade,
the board we called forever, queen and pawn,
that each one who enters plays and passes on.
But let me take back my nightmare. Die with me.
Together let's leave these mortal trees. Let those
who come on them after come on the ghost of us
and know that we're still living in our world,
which is the world, although it is not here.